A SIMPLE game of fetch went horribly wrong for a pet pooch which ended up with a six-inch stick impaled in her throat.
Amazingly, the owners of Maya, did not realise her four-year-old smooth collie was badly hurt for several hours.
It was only when Maya had trouble eating and drinking that it emerged that the stick had speared her tongue and dislodged her voicebox.
The 15cm fragment of branch was lodged so deeply in Maya’s throat, owners David Ashton and Cath Pryde had to take her to a vet for emergency surgery to remove it.
Happily, Maya, from Gartcosh, North Lanarkshire, is fully recovered and playing with the couple’s other dog Flinty – although fetch is now strictly off the cards.
Cath said: “I was out for a walk with my mum and as usual, Maya wanted me to throw a stick for her.
“She was racing along and the next thing she stopped suddenly and starting limping.
“I thought at first she had stood on something but when we got back to the house she wouldn’t eat and was very subdued.
“She wouldn’t eat and drink, and later on her jawline became very swollen.”
She added: “We took her to the vet and they sedated her and then pulled out this long stick from her throat. We had no idea that was the problem. There had been no blood or any other clues.”
Sarah Stevenson, one of the nurses at Bishopbriggs Veterinary Centre said the practice had seen an increasing number of dogs admitted with injuries from sticks.
She said: “In Maya’s case, the stick went through the underside of her tongue and displaced her larynx, causing severe pain and her unwillingness to eat or drink.
“When she was admitted radiographs showed an abnormality in her mouth and on examination the vet could feel a hard object on the underside of the tongue.
“Unfortunately the vet was unable to remove the object without making an incision and then removed a stick around 10cm long.”
Sarah added: “Stick injuries may not be initially obvious and may cause long-term problems.
“For these reasons, we are warning pet owners against throwing or encouraging their dog to play with or chase sticks.
“We are delighted Maya is doing well and back to eating and drinking normally.”
The veterinary practice also warned pet owners ?that pieces of wood can ?leave splinters in the dog’s mouth which can cause ?infection.
Maya’s owner David Ashton has thanked the staff at the centre and is backing their bid to raise awareness of the dangers of dogs playing with sticks.
He said: “As the very proud owner of Maya I would just like to say thank the staff at the vet for everything they did.
“I am also pleased to say that Maya has recovered very very well and is back playing with her pal Flinty who I am also lucky to have as part of my family.”